Larceny pertains to a crime in which a person attempts to take another’s property without the consent of the property owner. In the US, the crime of larceny is divided into grand larceny and petty larceny. As regards grand larceny, its punishment varies from the amount of property that was stolen, i.e., if the value of a property exceeds $1000, then it is considered as Class E felony with incarceration of up to 4 years. On the other hand, petty larceny is classified as Class 1 demeanor which results in less severe charges, and sometimes the case gets dismissed. At the same time, committing petty larceny first offense is known as a misdemeanor which is punishable by maximum one year of jail sentence. Usually, the value of stolen goods is less than $400 in the case of petty larceny. The most common example of petty larceny is shoplifting. It means stealing goods or commodities from a shop. The crime of shoplifting includes hiding a good inside a bag or a pocket, fleeing restaurant to avoid paying the bill and flipping price tags.
If you are charged with petty larceny first offense, it is likely that you have to pay a fine of as much as $1000. In addition, you could be placed for a six months jail. It is not easy for a prosecutor to justify offense before the judge. The prosecutor must prove that the victim has the sole right of possessing the stolen good. And the item was stolen with a view to deprive the victim permanently of his property. The prosecutor is also supposed to prove that the item was stolen by deceiving its owner, or against his consent. Usually, the cost of the stolen item is determined by comparing its value with market price.
If a person has committed petty larceny first offense, the court’s first priority is to make a plea deal with the prosecutor to dismiss charges because cases of petty larceny are not considered of serious nature. The court has the second option to put the offender in jail for a year. Besides, the offender is given another option of ‘diversion’, which means to discharge some community services under the supervision of the court. In of shoplifting offense, participation in some shoplifting programs is directed from Better Business Bureau department.
In case of petty larceny first offense, an accused is allowed to either plead guilty or not guilty upon first court hearing. It is advised to always consult a lawyer before your first hearing to make your case stronger. The lawyer usually makes a plea bargain deal with the prosecutor to dismiss the case. On the other hand, if an accused has been charged with some serious court convictions despite petty larceny first offense for which the prosecutor seems aggressive, the lawyer will guide you how to deal with your case and help you prepare strong evidence to dismiss charges. Even if you are unable to hire a lawyer, you can fill a request in the court to arrange a lawyer on your behalf to defend your case. Ultimately, the only option left for you other than hiring a lawyer or completing jail sentence is to accept partaking to diversion program which will subsequently dismiss charges against you.